OPPOSITION Senator Francis “Kiko” Pangilinan warned the administration that the extension of martial law in Mindanao without valid reason is a direct violation of the Constitution.
Pangilinan reminded Malacanang that martial law is supposed to be implemented only when there is an actual rebellion or invasion by foreign troops and must be implemented for a limited time only.
“Such an extension violates the fundamental law,” Pangilinan said.
Pangilinan said that the military leaders who requested the extension must be able to explain and prove that there is a need to continue martial law in Mindanao.
“Halimbawa, dapat nitong sagutin ang tanong: Gaano kalaki at kalawak ang banta sa rehiyon na kinakailangan pa na isailalim ito sa ganitong deklarasyon?” he asked.
While the military has not yet given proof on the need for extension, Pangilinan said that what they hear right now from people’s organizations are the harassment being done by the government forces and paramilitary groups.
Pangilinan also fears that martial law will be used by the administration in the coming midterm elections and may affect the chances of the candidates from the opposition and other candidates who are not allied with Malacanang.
Senators Panfilo Lacson and Sonny Angara agreed that the military officials should explain in the Senate why they came up with a proposal to extend Martial Law before implementing it.
Lacson warned that martial law implementors will be facing strict scrutiny by the senators.
For Angara, his vote will be based again on how and whether the country’s security officials will be able to explain properly the reasons behind the proposed extension.
For his part, Senator JV Ejercito favors the extension saying that it limits the movement of private armies and is solving the problem of loose firearms in Mindanao.
“As long as there is no violation of human rights recorded, then I am in favor because most Mindanaoans I talked to are happy and contented with Martial Law in Mindanao,” Ejercito stressed.
ML extension nixed
There is no need to extend martial law in Mindanao.
This is according to opposition solons who strongly opposed the proposal of the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) and Philippine National Police (PNP) to extend martial rule in the southern regiion until December 2019.
One of the leaders of House Magnificent 7, Albay Rep. Edcel LAgman said that the third extension of martial law in Mindanao mocks the Constitution for wanton absence of constitutional bases which are the presence of actual rebellion and threats to public safety.
Lagman pointed out that rebellion does not persist in Mindanao and consequently public safety is not imperiled.
“It is President Duterte who is vested with the initiative for the extension of martial law and he has not communicated to the Congress his desire to prolong the martial law regime in Mindanao,” Lagman said.
While the AFP and PNP are floating the extension, their officials have not yet formally submitted their recommendation to the President.